TIM Cone is setting the bar high for himself and for San Mig Super Coffee.
As San Mig tries to put a fitting exclamation point to its dominant season with a Grand Slam, Cone is setting his sights on equalizing, if not surpassing the legendary Crispa Redmanizers’ record of six straight PBA titles from 1975 to 1977.
So far, San Mig has already won the last three conferences, including last season’s Governors Cup Finals behind its 4-3 series triumph against Petron (now San Miguel Beer).
Should San Mig manage to survive Rain or Shine’s challenge in the PBA Governors Cup best-of-five title series starting on Tuesday night, the Mixers would be within two titles of Crispa’s mark.
“If we happen to win this series,” the 56-year-old legendary PBA coach said, stressing on the word ‘if’, “I don’t think that should be the end to us.”
“There’s always something to reach for. Crispa won six conferences in a row. It would be nice to challenge Crispa and go beyond that. It’s a record that would be tough to match at some point. That’s the challenge for us,” said Cone, who has 17 league titles.
Crispa’s record has stood solidly for the last 37 years, a feat that the venerable coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan engineered during the PBA’s formative years in the 1970s.
The PBA’s maiden season actually had Toyota, Crispa’s bitter rival, winning back-to-back titles, before the Redmanizers came in to deny the Super Corollas of a third straight crown.
Crispa won three straight in the 1976 season, all championship victories against Toyota to register the league’s very first Grand Slam.
The fabled Redmanizers continued their dominant run by winning a fifth straight championship against Mariwasa in 1977 and a sixth consecutive versus U-Tex.
Crispa finished third in the third conference, missing a second Grand Slam, an unfinished business which the team eventually completed in 1983 behind coach Tommy Manotoc and the “Black Superman” Billy Ray Bates as its import.
Cone said winning championships has a lot to do with the team’s collective effort to grow together.
“You want to grow as a coach and as a person,” Cone said.
“I’d like to think that we’re better as a team now than when we played Rain or Shine in the All-Filipino because we tried to continue to grow,” he added.
“If you’re goal-oriented, once you reach your objective, then it’s finished, tapos na. But when you’re growth-oriented, you try to go to the level and the next; you try to get better.”